Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending November 19th, 2010.
The next meeting of the Richmond City Council will be on Tuesday, December 7th.
This past Wednesday, there was a meeting, convened by Vice- Mayor Jeff Ritterman, among a number of representatives of businesses that are involved in, or are interested in, the growth of greentech industries in the City of Richmond. City representatives at the meeting included Mayor Gayle McLaughlin (who made opening remarks), Vice-Mayor Jeff Ritterman (who facilitated the meeting), Senior Development Project Manager Shasa Curl, Community and Economic Development Steve Duran, Economic Development Manager Thomas Mills, and the City Manager. Richmond businesses that were represented, and that made brief presentations regarding their involvement in the greentech industry, included Heliodyne, Alion, CyberTran, Intellergy, Barry Swenson Builders, and Chevron.
In addition to the benefits of networking these businesses, a specific purpose of the meeting was to discuss the potential of bringing the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) “second campus” to the City of Richmond. Among the points that were made in this regard were that:
- Since 1990, the LBNL has helped to form the basis for close to 30 start-up companies, creating a current job count of 2,393 direct jobs, with countless indirect jobs.
- Renewable energy, energy efficiency and many other green sectors incubated by the LBNL have continued to grow as the general economy has stagnated.
- Richmond has strengths that make it a good place for green industries to thrive.
- Green industries offer quality jobs that are accessible to the neediest Richmond residents who often have barriers to employment.
- Green industries will help Richmond diversify its tax and employment base.
- The City of Richmond is already implementing local environmental policies that will reduce local pollution and the city’s carbon footprint. By incorporating these policies into a larger green economic development strategy, Richmond can capture much of the job generation and revenue created by these policies for its own residents.
We will keep you fully informed of activities in these projects to promote greentech industries and seek the interest of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
- LEAP Wins Grant for Digital Literacy
The Literacy for Every Adult Project (LEAP) of the Richmond Public Library will take a lead role in connecting 4,000 Richmond residents to the Internet through the Learner Web, an innovative online system of self-paced Learning Plans. With the broader support of Portland State University and other national partners, Richmond residents will have access to Learning Plans in English and Spanish. The online lessons will focus on digital literacy (at home, at work, and in the community), education on how to be an informed consumer of broadband technology, and orientation to career pathways. Funding comes from the Federal Department of Commerce's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Grant. The total award for the national effort is $3.3 million dollars to anchor institutions serving Richmond, New Orleans, South and Central Texas, New York and Minnesota.
LEAP and the Richmond Public Library will partner with the following municipal departments and community organizations to expand and raise the level of computer literacy and broadband accessibility in Richmond:
- Monterey Pines Housing Development
- Community Housing Development Corporation Member Sites
- Barrett Plaza and Pullman Pointe Apartments
- Richmond Housing Authority: Richmond Village
- Building Blocks for Kids Initiative (BBK)
- West Contra Costa County Adult School: English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program
- Recreation Department: Nevin Community Center
- Draft Pedestrian Master Plan
The City of Richmond, working with the Local Government Commission and Contra Costa Health Services, has completed the draft Pedestrian Master Plan. The plan identifies strategies that will modify streets, sidewalks and surroundings to calm traffic, invite people of all ages and abilities to walk, and provide positive comfortable places for the community to gather. The plan will help set priorities, seek funding, and establish policies to improve the walking environment.
The draft Pedestrian Master Plan is available for download at http://www.ci.richmond.ca.us/index.aspx?NID=2119. An overview presentation of the draft Pedestrian Master Plan, along with the Bicycle Master Plan, will be given at the December 2nd Planning Commission meeting at 7:00 PM in the City Council Chambers located at 440 Civic Center Plaza. We invite the Council and members of the public to provide comments on the draft master plans by December 17th to Kieron_Slaughter@ci.richmond.ca.us.
- Wastewater Program Updates
- Wastewater Treatment Plant Digesters: Work continues on the rehabilitation of the wastewater treatment plant digesters. The digester cover manufacturer was on-site this week performing heat-weld patching to the cover of digester number two.
- Sewer Maintenance Manhole Cover Replacement: To further reduce the potential for sewer-related odors, the city has been working to replace several vented sewer manhole covers in the Point Richmond area with gas-tight covers. City staff identified over 70 vented manhole covers, and to date, has replaced all but approximately 10 of them. The remainder will be replaced by the end of November.
- Sewer Lateral Grant Program: Many residents who applied for and qualified for the sewer lateral grant program have already received their reimbursement checks from the city. To date, the city has issued and mailed 89 sewer lateral grants, totaling over $180,000. The city has also awarded another 23 grants, totaling over $48,000, and will be awarding these funds within the next few weeks, as proof of repair work is provided.
- Engineering Services Capital Improvement Program Updates
- Pavement Rehabilitation Program: The Richmond Parkway (near I-580 at the Chevron entrance) will be repaved this week.
- Park Plaza Series Streetlight Conversion: The contractor is potholing to identify existing utilities to avoid conflicts. Manufactured streetlight poles were delivered on November 18th.
- Winehaven Historical District Emergency Stabilization: A mandatory pre-proposal field meeting, conducted with 26 potential project teams, was held on November 17th.
- Carlson Boulevard Improvements: Two out of four layers of asphalt, 14’ wide, were laid along the westerly side of Carlson Boulevard from the El Cerrito city limits to Plumas Avenue. Staff met with board members of the Richmond Annex Neighborhood on November 18th to provide an update on the progress and challenges of the project.
- Point Richmond Retaining Wall Project: Deteriorated retaining walls on Terrace Avenue between Washington Avenue and Tunnel Avenue, and on Scenic Avenue between Washington Avenue and Vine Avenue have been retrofitted. The punchlist items, as well as the Design Review Board-approved decorative fence, are the remaining items to be completed before project acceptance.
- Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds
The financing documents for the Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) were approved by the City Council at its November 16th meeting. Closing and funding will occur within two weeks. This is a new type of municipal bond available for local agencies to issue, which was authorized through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Although they are taxable securities, and under normal circumstances pay a higher interest rate than tax-exempt bonds, the Federal Government provides a subsidy payment to all issuers of approximately 60% of the interest costs; thus bringing the net interest rate down to levels that are below that of tax-exempt bonds. The City of Richmond has been working with Bank of America to privately place its $1 million in QECBs to finance street light improvements and provide funding for a loan to Solar Richmond for energy efficient improvements to its training facilities.
- Recovery Zone Enterprise Development Bonds
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act also authorized Recovery Zone Economic Development Bonds (RZEDBs), which are similar to the QECBs in that the City will receive a subsidy of interest costs from the federal government. Proceeds from RZEDBs can be used to finance public improvements. The City of Richmond is planning to use its $1.3 million allocated RZEDB funds to finance improvements to several fire stations.
- Paving crews resurfaced 17th Street between Lincoln Avenue and Visalia Avenue, and 15th Street between Visalia Avenue and Coalinga Avenue this week. Due to the Thanksgiving holidays next week, crews will only conduct pothole operations on Hilltop Drive from Robert Miller to the eastern city limits.
- The Facilities Maintenance Division completed the following this week:
- The Electrical Division completed the installation of the Civic Center Plaza holiday lights which include the Main Library, Auditorium, and 440 and 450 Civic Center Plaza. Additionally, they completed the re-lamping of the Booker T. Anderson Ball Field lights.
- Custodial Services completed the window cleaning at 440 Civic Center Plaza. The window cleaning of 450 Civic Center Plaza is scheduled for December.
- Building Services painters completed painting the Auditorium arena perimeter; it took over 100 gallons of paint. Next week, they will start painting the 2nd level balcony perimeter and the installation of the Art Center’s Anniversary Banner.
- Parks tree trimming crews, in partnership with Caltrans, completed tree trimming operations at the I-80/Hilltop Drive northwest quadrant to improve visibility to the existing Hilltop pylon sign. A sign contractor will conduct major maintenance work on the sign this weekend, including the installation of new sign panels and colors to improve the appearance of the sign in anticipation of the holiday shopping season.
- Quarterly Meeting: The Recreation Department held its quarterly department meeting and Holiday Potluck on Thursday, November 18th in the Bermuda Room of the Richmond Auditorium. Employees were presented with information from the director and management staff highlighting accomplishments from the previous year and upcoming endeavors for each department section. In addition, special guest, newly appointed Councilmember and previous Recreation & Parks Commission Vice-Chair, Corky Boozé, briefly addressed staff. The newly-selected Parks Superintendent, Chris Chamberlain, was introduced to staff. Following the meeting, employees enjoyed the camaraderie and food of the annual potluck.
- Community Center Improvements:
- The exterior and interior painting of the Shields-Reid Community Center has been completed. The color scheme is now uniform with other community centers, and members of the surrounding community have expressed their thanks.
- Renovation of the picnic area at the Recreation Complex is underway and should be completed by November 24th. After completion, new picnic tables and three single barbecue grills will be installed.
- Youth Activities staff met with First Tee Golf representatives at the Richmond Country Club to bring Richmond youth into the First Tee Golf Program.
- Twelve adult men’s soccer teams will be competing in the winter league beginning Wednesday, November 24th.
- Co-ed soccer will begin at Booker T. Anderson Community Center on Friday, November 19th.
- The flag football season concluded on Wednesday, November 17th, with Vista Christian Academy defeating Project Pride of North Richmond for the championship. May Valley and El Sobrante Christian placed 3rd and 4th, respectively. Approximately 100 parents and spectators attended.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Turf Field: Recreation staff is conducting monthly logistics meetings with the Richmond Eagles, Steelers, Half-Steppers, and the Richmond Sol Soccer Club regarding field usage upon completion of construction. Each organization has presented a tentative schedule for the upcoming sports seasons.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
Have a great week and a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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